Thursday, March 12, 2009

Obama gets low grades from Economists


U.S. President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner received failing grades for their efforts to revive the economy from participants in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey.

Economists Give Obama an "F"

In striking contrast to President Obama's popularity with the public, a new Wall Street Journal survey of economists gives the president and his treasury secretary failing grades. WSJ's Phil Izzo and Kelly Evans discuss.

The economists' assessment stands in stark contrast with Mr. Obama's popularity with the public, with a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll giving him a 60% approval rating. A majority of the 49 economists polled said they were dissatisfied with the administration's economic policies.

On average, they gave the president a grade of 59 out of 100, and although there was a broad range of marks, 42% of respondents rated Mr. Obama below 60. Mr. Geithner received an average grade of 51. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke scored better, with an average 71.

Charts and Full Results

The economists, many of whom have been continually surprised by the depth of the downturn, also pushed back yet again their forecasts for when a recovery would begin. On average, they expect the downturn to end in October. Last month, they said the bottom would arrive in August. They estimate that U.S. gross domestic product will continue to contract in the first half of this year, with slow growth returning in the third quarter.

Economists were divided over whether the $787 billion economic-stimulus package passed last month is enough. Some 43% said the U.S. will need another stimulus package on the order of nearly $500 billion. Others were skeptical of the need for stimulus at all.

However, economists' main criticism of the Obama team centered on delays in enacting key parts of plans to rescue banks. "They overpromised and underdelivered," said Stephen Stanley of RBS Greenwich Capital. "Secretary Geithner scheduled a big speech and came out with just a vague blueprint. The uncertainty is hanging over everyone's head."

Mr. Geithner unveiled the Obama administration's plans Feb. 10, but he offered few details, and stocks sank on the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down almost 20% since the announcement, as multiple issues have weighed on investors' confidence. The Treasury secretary has since appeared before Congress and offered more specifics but has said action on key parts of the plan still is weeks away.

About the Survey

The Wall Street Journal surveys a group of 54 economists throughout the year. Broad surveys on more than 10 major economic indicators are conducted every month. Once a year, economists are ranked on how well their forecasts have fared. For prior installments of the surveys, see: WSJ.com/Economist.

"We have taken an unprecedented level of action toward economic recovery, accomplishing in weeks what took other countries years to do," Treasury spokesman Isaac Baker said. "While Wall Street and investors were disappointed when they didn't get a sweeping bank bailout, we've laid out a plan to stabilize the financial system while protecting the taxpayer and ensuring government funds are spent wisely. This crisis was years in the making, and it will take time to solve." [...]

5 comments :

  1. This is not surprising.

    When Obama was complaining, the one consistent criticism against him was that he was all style, no substance.

    But style won the day and now the man with no plan is running things and about to discover that charism means nothing when it comes to solving real problems.

    Who cares? When he fails, the Democrats and liberal press will blame George Bush II.

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  2. From The Bulletin: Philadelphia's Family Newpaper:

    "President Barack Obama: A Fraud You Can Believe In

    The Advocate

    By Herb Denenberg, The Bulletin

    Published: Thursday, March 12, 2009

    The hopes and prayers of the American people have finally been answered with the election of a new president: A fraud they can believe in.

    Yes, and even as Barack Obama demonstrates he is a fraud, phony and hypocrite par excellence — who also happens to be in way over his head — the American people still believe in him. Yes, love is grand and his approval rating is still miraculously high. If the truth were known, that approval rating would be sinking lower than the stock market, home prices or the economy.

    I doubted he was the Messiah, but now I’m not sure. When a president can be the greatest wealth destroyer in history and still maintain high approval ratings, maybe he does have supernatural powers. What’s more he is god-like. It is said God so loved the poor that he made many of them; Mr. Obama is almost outdoing God by turning so many into poor people.

    As I surveyed the disaster that is the Obama administration, I was surprised by how many memorable statements of the past put the present and the president into such clear perspective. I have a weakness for books of quotations and I was re-reading that fascinating book by Robert Byrne titled, The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said.

    In it, I came across the quote that describes our recent American history so perfectly. Will Durst, a comedian, put it perfectly when he said, “Voters want a fraud they can believe in.”

    There was abundant evidence Mr. Obama was a fraud, not a savior, in everything he’s done in life — from his early education to his days in the Illinois legislature then to his U.S. Senate days and finally as a successful candidate for president. If anyone would look at his record and associates they’d see he’s advocated infanticide in the Illinois State Senate, he’s never displayed a glimmer of bipartisanship and he came out of the slime and sewer that is Chicago machine politics. And his associates would prevent him from getting security clearance if he was applying for a government job, rather than being elected to one.

    This column has documented Mr. Obama’s fraudulent positioning on the most important issues of our time. He talks of bipartisanship, but is totally partisan. He is against earmarks, but is about to sign a bill with more than 8,000 of them. He says he’s going over every spending bill line by line to eliminate waste and abuse. But then he passes the greatest spending and stimulus bill in history without even allowing time enough for Congress and the public to read it. He says he is going to keep lobbyists out of his administration, but then he packs almost as many lobbyists into his administration as tax cheats.

    He says his administration will be transparent but then can’t even produce figures on the number of lobbyists that have received waivers to be in the administration.

    He says almost all Americans will get a tax cut, but then proposes a carbon tax that will assure almost all Americans will get a tax increase. He promised to put the country on a pay-as-you-go basis, but he’s setting records for deficits, national debt, spending, destroying wealth and for spend-as-you-go politics.

    The most recent and dramatic example of how the Obama rhetoric has nothing in common with the Obama reality involves the organized attack of his administration on radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

    Remember all of the Obama speeches about his rejection of the old politics and his commitment to stick to the major issues of our time. He promised to avoid diversions from the issues.

    So what does the Obama administration do? It acts as if radio talk show host, Mr. Limbaugh, was the greatest issue of our time. This is orchestrated at the highest level of the administration.

    It turns a sideshow into the main ring. This idiocy of the Obama administration was best captured by a cartoon a recent Weekly Standard. It shows the White House with a series of cartoon balloons asking and then answering the following questions:

    “We must take care of the biggest threat to America.”

    Question: “The economy?”

    Answer: “No.”

    Question: ”The banking crisis?”

    Answer: “No.”

    Question: “Terrorism?”

    Answer: “No.”

    Question: “Iranian nukes?”

    Answer: “No.”

    Question: “Then what?”

    Answer: “Rush Limbaugh.”

    The new politics of Mr. Obama is even pettier, lower and dirtier than the old politics. The only change Mr. Obama is ready to deliver is change for the worse, not the better.

    He promised hope, but endlessly repeats the words crisis, catastrophe and continuously runs the economy into the ground. Someone counted the word “crisis” popping up 26 times in one of his short speeches. Perhaps it’s win-win for him, as the worst it gets, the more he can sell his socialistic, share-the-wealth, soak the rich programs. He agrees with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, that you should never let a crisis go to waste.

    If that’s not bad enough, the White House and Mr. Obama are now exhibiting signs of reckless incompetence and amateur-hour behavior that is even more threatening. Here’s a glaring example. President Obama recently announced we are losing the war in Afghanistan and, at the same time, announced we may try to negotiate with the more moderate wing of the Taliban.

    You would think no one would be so naïve and inexperienced that they propose negotiation while proclaiming your own weakness. Mr. Obama, in approaching negotiation with the “moderate” wing of this terrorist group sounds more like he wants to negotiate an American surrender. The moderate Taliban, I would guess, would slit your throat rather than behead you.

    This is the same kind of amateur-hour incompetence and insanity that led to the Obama proposal to negotiate without pre-condition with every genocidal terrorist and maniac such as the leaders in Iran and North Korea. It is the same kind of amateur-hour incompetence and insanity that led Mr. Obama to the moral equivalence between Russia’s invasion of Georgia and Georgia’s response. It is incredible that one president can demonstrate so much inexperience and incompetence on many issues in such a short time.

    But the far reaches of the most pure incompetence were displayed by his handling of the bank/credit crisis. Economists and other experts agree the problem at the heart of the great financial meltdown and recession is the freezing up of credit. So the first priority should be a solution to the bank/credit crisis. Yet it seems to be the last priority and the most neglected of all White House tasks. While Mr. Obama flits around with proposals and works for universal health insurance, education reform and infrastructure redirection, the proposals and team to deal with the bank/credit crisis is immobilized or perhaps better described as in shambles.

    The noted tax cheat, Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner, falls on his face every time he takes a step forward. He still doesn’t have his plan in place to fix the bank/credit crunch. Secretary Geithner, and the rest of the economic team, still don’t have a plan for rescuing the banks or otherwise solving the problem. Mr. Geithner still doesn’t have his key staff in place and, when I last checked, not a single one of the top 17 treasury officials to work under him were in place.

    Mr. Obama says, like JFK, he has to handle multiple issues at the same time. Unfortunately, he seems to be unable to handle a single issue at one time. Mr. Obama says that FDR, Abraham Lincoln and JFK had to handle many issues at the same time. I can’t say I knew those three former presidents, but I can assure Mr. Obama he’s no Lincoln, FDR nor JFK; he’s not even close.

    There is other, abundant evidence of incompetence. You have to wonder whether he is even vetting high-level appointments, as one after another, is exposed to be a tax cheat. Late-night comedians joke that we can eliminate the deficit just by getting Mr. Obama’s appointees to pay up their taxes.

    This is not to mention his Commerce appointment, Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., who is under investigation and possible indictment for corruption.

    If all that is not enough, we have the fiasco of fiascos — the appointment of Charles Freeman to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council, a key entity in setting America’s foreign policy, security and intelligence operations. It turns out he sounds like a Fifth Column agent for Saudi Arabia, Iran and China.

    It turns out he was designated by a top intelligence official within the Obama administration and his appointment wasn’t even communicated to the White House. He wasn’t vetted by the White House, and apparently no one even bothered to ask him whether he is paying his taxes. It’s entirely possible President Obama has finally found an appointee who is not a tax cheat. Yes, he can.

    As I was writing that last paragraph, Fox News broke a story that Mr. Freeman had withdrawn from this appointment. Maybe the next appointee to chair the National Intelligence Council should be vetted before being named.

    There’s a glimmer of good news. Even some of Mr. Obama’s advisers and supporters are finally figuring out Mr. Obama doesn’t know what he is doing. For example, Warren Buffet, considered the nation’s greatest and richest investor, and an Obama adviser, now says Mr. Obama’s economic message is muddled and is undermining public confidence. Mr. Obama told CNBC, “And I think we’ve had, and it’s the nature of the political process somewhat, but we’ve had muddled messages and the American public does not know. They feel they don’t know what’s going on, and their reaction then is to absolutely pull back.”

    Incidentally, Jack Welch, the former management genius at G.E., says Mr. Obama ought to focus on the economy and stop trying to handle all kinds of major issues all at once.

    University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, a specialist in presidential politics, agrees with Mr. Buffet. He says the public is confused and Mr. Obama may be unintentionally sending the message that the problem may be the public may not understand what they’re talking about on the banks. I’ve got news for Professor Sabato: The Obama people can’t figure out what they’re talking about either.

    Reuters also reports Tony Fratto, a former spokesman for President George W. Bush, said it is not only a muddled message problem but a fact problem: “[T]he market is not getting clear information on what Treasury’s intentions are for the rest of this program.”

    Even some of the bootlicking, Obama-worshipping mainstream media are losing confidence in him. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle has written Mr. Obama is embarrassing America. Even Howard Fineman, of Newsweek magazine, one of the publications that was running Obama covers almost weekly, now writes that Mr. Obama is losing the support of the establishment.

    All these developments are finally eroding Mr. Obama’s approval ratings, which have now dropped from the 60s to 56, with the disapproval rating running 43 percent. If the public gets the full story of the performance of the Obama administration, I would think his approval rating should drop to the single digit range, if that high.

    I should add one other point on the fraud that is Obama. His supporters like to bill him as the smartest man on the planet. But if he is so smart why is he unable to speak without the help of a teleprompter? He must have to go to bed with it. If you can’t speak extemporaneously after going through a campaign, you can’t be very bright.

    I went through a primary campaign for the U.S. Senate, and by the time I was done I could deliver a campaign speech in my sleep, without notes and without a teleprompter. And I’m sure anyone who has been through a campaign will tell you the same thing. Mr. Obama is a strange exception.

    There are even reports that the teleprompter is used to feed him facts and talking points to help him answer questions. There’s also a report the White House is working on a computer unit on the podium to feed him material during press conferences and other question-and-answer formats.

    I’m afraid like the great Oz, the great Mr. Obama will soon be discovered to be the fraud that he is. The golden tongue orator can’t move his golden tongue without the aid of a script and a teleprompter.

    There have been many false Messiahs in history, but isn’t this going a little too far? We’ve got to set a higher standard, even for false Messiahs.

    Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin."

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  3. From the American Thinker:

    "Of course he's a socialist

    By James Lewis
    March 12, 2009

    Of course he's a socialist. The real question is, how does he feel about America? His favorite Sunday preacher for the last twenty years is simply obsessed with a frothing hatred for this country. His good buddies Bill and Bernardine have been expressing their rage loud and proud since the Sixties. As president, O is trying to put Chas Freeman in charge of the National Intelligence Estimates, a man who is neither competent, nor temperamentally suited, nor emotionally able to restrain his animosity against American Jews who love Israel just as they love America (... because, for one thing, they love democracy, and can recognize fascists even in drag.)

    Newsweek tells us we're all socialists now. That's an obvious lie, because the Newsweek socialists like Evan Thomas suffer from regular nightmares that American conservatives will find another Ronald Reagan. But that raised the question of socialism. Obama danced away from it, of course, when a NYT reporter actually asked him. Whoooo me?

    Well, anybody who reads the New Media knows the answer already; and anybody who doesn't know, doesn't want to know. None so blind as will not see.

    Our socialists will tell us is that there are 57 varieties of socialism, so that dreaded word doesn't really mean anything after all. Well, tell that to 100 million dead people over the 20th century from Stalin to Mao. Tell it to people starving this very day in North Korea. Tell it to the thousands of Cubans who took to rubber rafts to get to this country. Tell it to the UN-ocrats who are enabling Sudanese genocide because Muslims have an alliance with European socialists at the UN.

    Socialism is internationalist, and that means a genuine dual loyalty for a president of the United States. Marxists are convinced there is an inevitable contradiction between love of country and love of humanity. That's why it's called the Socialist International, and why the anthem is the Internationale. They haven't made a secret of it. Internationalist fervor controls their actions, including very successful efforts to whip up black feelings against whites, women against men, and everybody against capitalism, no matter how many billions of people it has raised out of poverty. The whole point about the global warming scam is to empower the internationalist Ruling Class.

    All the divisions stoked up by our "idealistic" socialists cut across national boundaries, and the result is to weaken national identities. That's why liberals can't think of a good word to say for this country. That's why Britain is losing its identity to Brussels and the Euro-Soviet Union. When Hillary was running for president, one of her first moves was to drop the word "internationalism" into the media, as a code word to all the True Believers. They got the message, but she still lost because to the Left a young black man is sexier than an aging white female. The Democrats made their decision based on race and gender, and proudly so. That's what it means to be Progressive.

    I think Obama is a Third World socialist. It's the basic story of his two autobiographies even before Bill Ayers rewrote them. It's what his runaway father boasted about, back in Kenya, and it's what O's Mercer Island mom encouraged him to become. Socialism was the "in" thing in the post-colonial world, and it led to one economic disaster after another. It took a whole generation for the undeveloped world to recover its common sense. India suffered under the British socialism of Jawaharlal Nehru -- who claimed to be post-colonial, but was in fact indoctrinated by British socialist imperialism himself; he was a victim of a particularly pernicious kind of colonialism. India suffered for decades from that ideological blindness.

    India finally came to its senses when it rediscovered the amazing initiative and brains of its talented people, if they were just left alone to surf the web, read the books, learn and teach. South and East Asia have long scholarly traditions; Western math and science is no more difficult than the Sanskrit of the Bhagavat-Gita. While North Korea is still suffering under the Stalinist whip, with hundreds of thousands of people starving, right across the border their extended families prosper in South Korea.

    Socialists never have to explain their failures; in the case of Obama, he has never even been asked the only relevant question: What do you say about the murderous failures of socialism wherever it's been seriously tried? None of our media heads will ever ask it, and the New Media, who might, are carefully being kept away from The One. And let's face it, O is not an independent thinker. He wouldn't figure out a way to ask that question himself.

    So O apparently believes that the people of color of all races -- Chinese, Malays, Native Americans, Cubans, Hawaiians, Andaman Islanders, Indonesians, Eskimos, Philipinos, Africans, and even Muslims -- have been systematically persecuted by whites. That is bizarrely wrong as a point of fact, if you just look at the actual majority of Asian kids in some of the best American universities today; or if you look at the decades of foreign aid Americans have given to poor nations.

    European historical dominance over people of color is purely a function of advanced technology. If the Industrial Revolution had happened in China before Europe, do you really think Imperial China would have been kinder to its colonies than the Brits were to theirs? Would Imperial China have spread democracy and the Enlightenment wherever it traveled? Imperial China was never known for its merciful actions, nor was Imperial Japan. China didn't bother to conquer foreign devils simply because it despised them.

    But that's what our President evidently believes. So he owns up to a fundamentally race-based prejudice against hundreds of millions of human beings, including 80 percent of his own voters. That's what it means to be Progressive in the world of O, you see.

    That's also apparently what his Attorney General means by saying that Americans are "cowards" on race. In fact, millions of white Americans have been bending over backwards to do the decent thing by black people since long before the Civil War. The abolitionists were nearly all whites; Abraham Lincoln had to face the fearsome prospect of the most destructive war in American history because of irreconcilable differences about slavery. It was the white British Navy that enforced the end of the slave trade across the Atlantic. And yet, African slavery by Africans has never stopped either in Africa or the Middle East.

    Ever since the Civil Rights Laws, black politicians have engaged in endless race-baiting directed against whites, in an astonishing imitation of the thuggish racist Dixiecrats of old. J-Wright's Black Liberation Theology is defined as Marxism applied to race. Karl Marx advocated class struggle, the poor to bring down the rich; BLT advocates race struggle against whites. It's not a secret, and it does a lot more damage to black people, who have a much harder time escaping from its intellectual blinders.

    So how does Obama feel about this country? Not "America After the Socialist Revolution," but the real America we live in?

    I don't pretend to read his mind. But a lot of people are beginning to wonder whether he has different plans than protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States.

    It won't be hard to tell, will it?"

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  4. To quote John Hussman, one of the few who saw this mess coming years ago (www.hussman.net)

    The misguided policy response from Washington has focused almost exclusively on squandering public money and burdening our children with indebtedness in order to defend the bondholders of mismanaged financial institutions (blame Paulson and Geithner – I've got a lot of respect for our President, but he's been sold a load of garbage by banking insiders).

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  5. Recipients and PublicityApril 6, 2009 at 6:52 AM

    Arutz Sheva.com reports:

    "Obama Bows to Saudi King, Supports Saudi Initiative

    by Maayana Miskin
    Published: 04/03/09, 9:23 AM / Last Update: 04/03/09, 10:23 AM

    (IsraelNN.com) United -States President Barack Obama was caught on camera by journalists on Wednesday bowing in deference to Saudi King Abdullah as he greeted him at the opening of the G20 meeting in London, prior to being photographed with British royalty.

    Obama later expressed support for the 2002 Saudi Plan in his meeting Thursday with the Saudi monarch. The two also discussed global economic issues and terrorism, White House staff said.

    The meeting between Obama and Abdullah was the first face-to-face talk between the two. The meeting created a storm of debate, primarily among American conservatives, when pictures and a video were released that appeared to show Obama bowing to the Saudi monarch at the G20 photo-op.

    Obama reportedly expressed support for the 2002 Saudi Initiative upon winning the presidential election in November of 2008. In his first meeting with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Obama had been quoted as saying of the plan, “The Israelis would be crazy not to support this initiative.”

    In January of 2009, Saudi officials warned that the U.S. would need to “drastically revise” its Middle East policy, particularly towards Israel, if it wanted to maintain influence in the region.

    "If the U.S. wants to continue playing a leadership role in the Middle East and keep its strategic alliances intact – especially its 'special relationship' with Saudi Arabia – it will have to drastically revise its policies vis-a-vis Israel and Palestine,” former Saudi ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal said at the time.

    Turki referred to the Middle East policy of former U.S. President George Bush as “sickening,” and accused America of “contributing to the slaughter of innocents” by supporting Israel.

    Bush expressed strong support for the creation of a PA state, but supported the 2003 Road Map initiative over the Saudi Plan. The Road Map plan calls for the Israel-PA negotiations process to take place in stages, with Israel dismantling Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria only after the PA begins to fight terrorism.

    The Saudi Plan calls on Israel to cede Gaza and all land east of the 1949 armistice line, including much of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, to the Palestinian Authority. Israel would also be required to cede the strategic Golan Heights region to Syria.

    In addition, the plan requires Israel to release all terrorists currently in its prisons, and to offer citizenship to millions of foreign Arabs who say they are descended from Arabs who fled pre-state Israel during the War of Independence.

    In exchange, Arab states would normalize their ties with the Jewish State.

    In Israel, the plan has met with little support. Enacting the plan would force roughly 600,000 Israelis from their homes. In addition, senior defense officials have warned that the plan would compromise Israel's security.

    President Shimon Peres expressed limited support for the plan in 2008, but clarified that he believed the plan could be useful as a starting point for negotiations, not that it could be implemented in its current form.

    Hana Levi Julian and Gil Ronen contributed to this report."

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